Saskatchewan has 50 rigs working going into busiest month of year

Alberta began curtailment this January and its rig count dropped 90 rigs

February is historically the busiest month in the oilpatch, with drilling hitting its high point for the year. Going into February, Saskatchewan’s rig count was 50 out of 112 rigs, or a 45 per cent utilization rate, according to Rig Locator ( on Jan. 28.

That’s off quite a bit from the previous two years, which were not stellar, either, compared to 2008-2014. On Jan. 25, 2018, there were 72 rigs working in Saskatchewan, and on the same day in 2017, there were 60.

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In Western Canada, 230 rigs were working out of 585, for a utilization rate of 39 per cent for Western Canada. Quebec and Nova Scotia each had one rig down, bringing the nation-wide total of 230 rigs of 587 working.

If Alberta wanted to curtail its oil production by about eight per cent, the oil companies appear to have collectively decided the way to do that was to cut drilling, and cut it hard.

Alberta had 155 rigs working out of 415, for a utilization rate of 37 per cent. On Jan. 25, 2018, there were 245 rigs working, while the same date in January 2017 had 247. That’s a drop of 90 rigs for Wild Rose Country. This is despite the price of WTI being nearly identical for 2017 and 2019, around US$53 per barrel. In 2018, the price was around US$66 per barrel.

British Columbia had 19 of 50 rigs going, for a 38 per cent utilization. Manitoba had six of eight rigs turning to the right, for a 75 per cent utilization rate.

Rig roundup

Sixteen drilling contractors were at work. They included (number of rigs working) Akita Drilling Ltd. (1), Alliance Drilling and Oilfield Service (1), Betts Drilling Ltd. (4), Bonanza Drilling Inc. (2), CWC Ironhand Drilling (1), Ensign Drilling Inc. (6), Excalibur Drilling Ltd. (1), Horizon Drilling (5), Lasso Drilling Corporation (1), Panther Drilling Corp. (1), Precision Drilling (8), Predator Drilling Inc. (2), Savanna Drilling Corp. (7), Stampede Drilling Ltd. (4), Tempco Drilling Company Inc. (2) and Trinidad Drilling Ltd. (4).

Seventeen different companies were drilling in Saskatchewan. While most were going for oil one company, Canpacific Potash Inc., was drilling for fertilizer with one rig at Star Valley, between Vibank and Francis.

Even though Crescent Point Energy Corp. recently said they would be cutting their capital program by 30 per cent this year, they still led the nation, as usual, with 17 drilling rigs working (rigs working in Saskatchewan, for Crescent Point, 16). Tourmaline Oil Corp. had 16. Suncor Energy Inc. and Husky Energy Inc. (6) tied for third with 11 rigs. Canadian Natural Resources Limited had nine rigs. Seven Generations Energy Ltd. employed eight. Vermillion Energy Inc. (4) and Whitecap Resources Inc. (4) were tied in seventh place with seven rigs each, while Baytex Energy Corp. (4) and Encana Corporation were tied in ninth place with six rigs apiece.

Southeast Saskatchewan saw 24 rigs working. There were two noticeable concentrations. One was around Torquay, and the second was a box bounded by Highway 13 to the north, Highway 361 (Lampman) to the south, Highway 604 (Arcola) to the east and Range 9-W2 to the west.

In this area, Astra Oil Corp. had one at Viewfield, Fire Sky Energy had one at Bryant, Highrock Resources had one at Morrisview (halfway between Lampman and Forget), Torc Oil & Gas Ltd. had a rig at Browning and another at Steelman, and Triland Energy Inc. and Vermillion were working close to each other at Wordsworth, south of Arcola. Crescent Point had one west of Stoughton, one south of Stoughton and one west of Benson.

Torc also had a rig at Torquay. Enerplus Corporation had one rig at Neptune.

Crescent Point had one rig within spitting distance of Oungre, four rigs southwest of Torquay, one north of Torquay, , and another near Corning. It also had two rigs near Shaunavon, one near Leitchville, and one near Rapdan in the southwest. In West central Saskatchewan, Crescent Point had one rig at Plato and another at Dodsland.

Silver Bay Resources Ltd. at Nottingham, south of Redvers.

Vermillion had one rig so close to the Manitoba border at Gainsborough, it would cast a shadow into the land of mosquitoes at sunset. Vermillion had another rig at Pinto, and one more at Tatagwa.

Whitecap’s drilling was in west central, with rigs at Whiteside, Eagle Lake, Beverley (west of Swift Current) and Bench (south of Gull Lake).

Teine Energy Ltd. had four rigs working at Dodsland.

Baytex had two rigs at Elrose, one at Onward, west of Kerrobert, and one at Whiteside, north of Flaxcombe.

Saturn Oil & Gas Inc. had one rig at Buffalo Coulee.

There’s a big gap with zero activity from Kerrobert to Highway 16. But north of the Yellowhead Highway, Husky had six rigs working. Their locations included Brightsand Lake, Bolney, Pikes Peak, Dee Valley, Edam east and Edam west.


See related story: PSAC lowers 2019 drilling forecast

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